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Spring 2009


urrents A Publication of Winona State Univer sity

Children’s Advocates Student Amber Olson and Professor Carole Madland make an impact through WSU’s Child Advocacy Studies curriculum

You can change the world through your support of Light the Way, Winona State University’s first comprehensive capital campaign.

Learn more about Light the Way at Or call the WSU Foundation: 800.342.5978 ext. 5020

ALUMNI RELATIONS P.O. Box 5838 Winona, Minnesota 55987-5838 800-DIAL-WSU

32 | Spring 2009 The oldest member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Winona, MN 55987 Permit 192

C O N T E N T S Setting the Stage for Social Change....................10 Child Advocacy Studies at WSU

Bass Master................................................................ 14 Professional fishing competitor Zach Cassill

Telling Our Stories................................................... 16 Faculty photographers speak through the lens Philanthropy News............................................................................................... 4 Scholarship News................................................................................................ 5 News & Highlights................................................................................................ 6 Democracy Takes Hold......................................................................................20 My Favorite Professor.......................................................................................22 Alumni Relations................................................................................................23 Class Notes........................................................................................................24 Current People..................................................................................................30

On the Cover

Amber Olson, a sociology major and Child Advocacy Studies minor, plans a career working with children. Carole Madland, a Social Work Professor, is a founder of the CAST program.

Perfect Balance

Renae Lee (left) displays the skill and grace that has made the WSU gymnastics team one of the best in the nation. She is also one of four Warrior gymnasts with a perfect 4.0 GPA. See page 9 in this issue for more on the Winona State gymnastics team.



Spring 2009

Winona Currents is published by Winona State University’s Division of University Advancement and is distributed to more than 40,000 alumni and friends of Winona State University. Currents is copyrighted material. Articles may be reprinted with permission. Comments on this publication should be directed by mail to WSU-University Advancement, PO Box 5838, Winona MN 55987-5838; by email:; online: Address changes and Class Notes should be directed by mail to the Alumni Relations Office, PO Box 5838, Winona MN 55987-5838; by email: POSTMASTER: If undeliverable as addressed, please send Form 3579 to Alumni Relations, PO Box 5838, Winona MN 55987-5838. Winona State University is an equal opportunity educator and employer. This document can be made available in an alternative format to individuals with disabilities by contacting the magazine staff at the address above. Winona State University is the oldest member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System.

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Merchants Bank takes action in supporting Integrated Wellness Complex


Articulate. Compassionate. Courageous. Resilient. A suitable lexicon

Rod Nelson, president of Merchants Bank-Winona (left) and Greg Evans, regional president (right)

f the three initiatives making up Winona State University’s Light the Way capital campaign, the Integrated Wellness Complex represents a unique synergy of innovation, partnership, and dedication to improve the world. Construction is planned to begin this spring on the 90,000-square-foot, LEED certified “green” complex. It will be among the first buildings of its kind to integrate all aspects of health and well-being on a college campus. Funded through a combination of state, student, and community dollars, the IWC will support healthy lifestyles and the education of a new generation of healthcare professionals. In that same spirit of innovation, partnership, and community commitment, Merchants Bank and Merchants Financial Group, Inc. generously donated $500,000 to the Integrated Wellness Complex. Part of the donation– $300,000—was an outright gift, and $200,000 is a matching gift. Merchants will match individual gifts to the IWC of up to $1,000. The Merchants match gives donors the opportunity to double their impact on health and wellness in our community for years to come. Rod Nelson, president of Merchants Bank-Winona, said the gift reflects his bank’s philosophy of community commitment. “Winona State is an important partner in our region, providing education to our young people and a significant economic impact,” said Nelson. “Many of our employees are WSU graduates. Their good work has helped our bank excel.” Nelson pointed to Greg Evans as just one of the Merchants employees who has played a major part in the Integrated Wellness Complex initiative. Evans, regional president in Red Wing and Cannon Falls, Minn., is a loyal supporter of Winona State and serves as co-chair of the IWC campaign. “Giving back to the community is a significant part of the culture in each of our banks,” said Evans.

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Inspiring Brighter Tomorrows

What Is Light the Way? Light the Way is Winona State University’s first comprehensive capital campaign. Through the campaign, Winona State will raise $10 million by 2010 for three initiatives: student scholarships ($4 million); the Integrated Wellness Complex ($3.5 million); and the National Child Protection Training Center ($2.5 million). Your support—at any level—can make a real difference. And by giving to the Integrated Wellness Complex, you can take advantage of the Merchants Bank match and double the impact of your gift. Learn more about how you can Light the Way, and make a true difference in our world. Visit our Website: Call the WSU Foundation: 800.342.5978 ext. 5020

for Shanna Decker, a Winona State University scholarship recipient who overcame childhood cancer and is now inspiring others as they fight the disease. Decker, a Plainview, Minn. native and recipient of three Winona State scholarship awards, found out she had bone cancer when she was seven years old. She spent about a year at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, eventually losing her left leg above the knee. “It was the most challenging time of my life,” Decker recalls. But she turned the experience into a life devoted to helping others confronted with cancer or the loss of a limb. While completing treatment at Mayo, Decker asked if she could visit with fellow patients and their Shanna Decker families. She had such an impact that she was asked to come back again and again. In the ten years since she faced her own challenge with cancer, Decker has connected with hundreds of patients “from 3-years-old to 50-years-old” at both Mayo and Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore. She often brings one of her “Hearts of Hope” packages when she visits a patient. The gift of games and inspirational material includes Decker’s contact information so the patient can reach her for advice, support and encouragement. Decker says she has delivered about 80 Hearts of Hope packages and often spends evenings and weekends encouraging someone who is experiencing the same challenges she faced ten years ago. Decker is expanding her reach through Brighter Tomorrows, a non-profit organization she has founded with her parents along with three other families. Brighter Tomorrows supports hospital visits and works with Mayo medical students and Ronald McDonald House in Rochester. “Instead of just my family, Brighter Tomorrows is creating a network of families to reach out,” says Decker. Decker is passionate about what she does and hopes to use her experiences and Winona State degree to continue her outreach work. “Everyone at Winona State is kind and passionate about something,” says Decker. “It’s different than other universities.”

New Scholarships at Winona State “Scholarships are the most fantastic blessing,” says Shanna Decker of her three awards: the Foundation Board Scholarship, the Alumni Society Merit Scholarship, and the Evelyn B. Steffen Scholarship. Following is a list of new WSU Foundation scholarships that will support deserving students such as Shanna Decker:

The Michael Ablan Law Firm Scholarship The Ted & Diane Fredrickson Scholarship The Karen & David Matzke Scholarship The Metille Family Scholarship The Southern Minnesota Recreation & Park Association Scholarship

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A Philosophy of Community Commitment

WSU Student to perform at Carnegie Hall

at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts Saturday, November 7, 2009, 10:30-11:30 a.m. Alumni & Friends reception to follow! Space is limited, so make your reservation now at



University recognized for service, civic engagement

Big Stage Beckons

Tour the Masterpieces with Alumni & Friends Join Winona State Alumni and Friends at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts for a private exhibit of masterpieces from the world-famous Louvre Museum. “The Louvre and the Masterpiece”

preparations continue for economic DOWNTURN Students volunteer during the 2007 floods in southeast Minnesota

The Corporation for National Community Service has named Winona State University to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for 2008. Winona State earned the “With Distinction” designation for its commitment to service and civic engagement both on campus and in the United States. Launched in 2006, the Community Service Honor Roll is the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for its commitment to service learning and civic engagement. The selection process includes criteria such as the percentage of students engaged in community service; the percentage of students engaged in academic service learning courses; and whether community service or service learning is cited in the institution’s mission or strategic plan. “This award recognizes the mission of Winona State and the true spirit of our students,” said Joan Francioni, director of WSU’s Center for Engaged Teaching and Scholarship. “Winona State is committed to engaging students in relevant and important work while they are here. Through different service projects this past year, especially the flood relief efforts, our students experienced firsthand the power of helping others when they are hurting. Those lessons will last a lifetime.” Winona State was one of 83 institutions named as an Honor Roll With Distinction member. For a full list of the schools that were honored, see www.nationalservice. gov/honorroll.

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The severe world economic downturn is affecting everyone, including higher education and Winona State University. While Minnesota now provides less than 30 percent of Winona State’s funding, a deficit that was projected at nearly $5 billion in the current biennium, and may be even higher in the next, will have an impact on the university. Winona State has already felt the pinch through a more than $900,000 “unallotment” in January, its share of $20 million pulled back from the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities when the state showed a deficit in its current funding biennium. Winona State took several actions to reduce expenditures in the current fiscal year and to build flexibility for anticipated deficits in the next biennium. These included reconsidering several open positions, working with faculty to fill sabbatical leaves, and closely reviewing and monitoring discretionary expenditures. To prepare for the even bigger cuts that could come in 2010-11, WSU President Judith Ramaley has hosted a series of community meetings and opened a budget suggestion box on the university Website. Ramaley emphasizes that while the state and higher education are facing trying economic times, the university will continue to maintain its commitment to student progression and success. “Winona State will be guided by its mission and look at the good of the whole,” she said. On her Web page, Ramaley is updating the university’s plans and actions in the face of the economic downturn. Visit and click on “Budget” for full details.

Crazy About Recycling A sustainable community is one of Winona State’s priorities for the new century (see “Glad to be Green” in the Winter 2008 edition of Currents). In that spirit, the university embarked on a significant recycling program called “RecycleMania.” RecycleMania is a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for colleges and universities to reduce waste on their campuses. Over a 10-week span that ended on March 28, Winona State reported recycling and trash data. Schools were ranked according to the largest amount of recyclables per capita and least amount of trash per capita. National award winners will be recognized in October. During the month of February, Winona State also competed in the Minnesota Campus Energy Challenge. To address the issue of climate change, Minnesota schools competed to reduce total February energy use, based on a percentage relative to use in previous Februaries. Find out how Winona State finished in RecycleMania at Visit html to see the results of the Minnesota Campus Energy Challenge.

Winona State University student Sarah Wayant never imagined she would be attending a performance at Carnegie Hall in New York, much less be featured as one of the stars on the stage. A flutist from Prior Lake, Minnesota, Wayant was the only Minnesotan selected to perform in MidAmerica Production’s 2009 National Collegiate Wind Ensemble. The ensemble will perform in May. To audition, Wayant sent in a resume, a letter of recommendation, and a recording that demonstrated her lyrical and technical abilities. Winona State music professor Donald Lovejoy says Wayant competed with musicians from around the country for the honor. “This event will provide Sarah an opportunity to perform in an ensemble consisting of some of the finest undergraduate musicians in the country,” said Lovejoy.


Getting Involved


News and Highlights

Sarah Wayant

Safety Calls Winona State University will be implementing a new wireless emergency notification system for students, faculty, and staff called Star Alert. The system utilizes text and email messaging to inform registrants of crisis situations impacting the campus community. Information will also be conveyed through the Winona State Website. Star Alert is being implemented at a number of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities institutions. Participants choose to opt-in to register for Star Alert notification. Only a few weeks after its introduction, more than 25 percent of the Winona State community had registered for the Star Alert system.

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Stemming the Tide in Science and Math

Middle school students in the WSU flume lab during STEM Day


o stimulate interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, the Winona State University College of Science and Engineering hosted STEM Day for Winona eighth graders on March 2-3.

Winona State professors Sue Beseler, Tisha Hooks, Chris Malone, Nathan Moore, John Deming, and Cathy Summa hosted STEM Day. The STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) students spent the day exploring how math and science relate to water quality issues. They participated in hands-on sessions using fractal design to determine watershed boundaries, demonstrating runoff and erosion experiments in the WSU flume lab, looking at contaminant dissolution in water, and interpreting statistical analysis of collected data. The Winona Middle School students will also attend an introduction to environmental issues surrounding the Clark Fork River in Montana. STEM Day tied into Winona State’s “Year of Water,” a yearlong project to inspire stewardship of public local water and to promote a broader understanding of regional, national, and international water issues.

New Alumni OCED, Retiree Center Team up to Offer Lifelong Learning Associate

Jacquelyn Severson ’02 has joined Winona State University as its new associate director of alumni relations. Severson earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education at Winona State in 2002. Severson brings a broad background in volunteer recruitment, programming, and relationship building from her work with the Girl Scouts of Riverland Council in southwestern Wisconsin.

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Alumni now have two more reasons to enjoy the Winona State University campus: Snowbird U and Senior University Classes. Snowbird U, a program of WSU Outreach and Continuing Education, offers a summer destination for lifelong learning. Snowbird U students reside at the university’s beautiful East Lake Apartments and take advantage of a variety of summer courses, tours, cultural events, and outdoor activities, all geared to alumni and friends at or near retirement age. Students in the Snowbird U program also receive a membership in the WSU Learning Club, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the continuing education of retired people. For the first time, the WSU Retiree Center is holding Senior University Classes. Professor emeriti and subject experts lead the non-credit courses that encourage “peer sharing and fellowship.” Spring courses so far have included “The History of Earth and its Inhabitants,” taught by Robert Sloan, professor emeritus at WSU. “Middle East Issues” will be taught in early May by Ahmed El-Afandi. To find out more about Senior University Classes, telephone Cathie Logan at 507.457.5565. To learn more about Snowbird U, visit www.winona. edu/oced/SnowbirdU or telephone Ann Durley at 507.474.3902.

Soaring Expectations WSU gymnastics team scores high marks on the floor, in the classroom

or a gymnast, scoring a 10 is the ultimate goal. It represents a sublime display of skill, strength, and grace. It’s the symbol of perfection. The Winona State University gymnastics team has embraced another number that rewards perfection. In the academic world, a 4.0 resonates every bit as deeply as a flawless routine on the balance beam or uneven bars. And for the Warrior gymnasts, it brings the same sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. In 2008, Winona State competed at the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association national championships for the first time in 14 years, placing sixth. Three Warrior gymnasts, Alexandra Nugent (all-around, balance beam, floor exercise, vault), Eileen Strube (beam), and Melissa Baudhuin (beam), earned All-America recognition. A few months later in the National Associate of Collegiate Gymnastics Scholastic All-America rankings, the Warriors vaulted higher. A 3.755 team grade point average placed them second nationally, just behind Southeast Missouri State University. Twelve WSU gymnasts won individual Scholastic All-America honors. Nugent, Baudhuin, Renae Lee, and Jory Waldron posted perfect 4.0 GPAs. In her four years as Winona State head coach, Beckie Rolbiecki has developed a culture of high expectations in the gym and classroom.


She recruits student-athletes who are serious about gymnastics and academics. In addition to long afternoons spent tumbling, swinging, and vaulting, they’re expected to put in six hours each week at study table, about two hours more than most other Warrior teams. Rolbiecki is proud that much of the Warriors’ motivation comes from within. “The kids demand more of each other. If someone is having a problem, either in the gym or in a class, there’s a teammate there to reach out and help.” Nugent is a good example. The senior from Sheboygan, Wis., is majoring in Spanish Education and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. She is also learning Chinese and hopes to teach the language to American students someday. Despite a demanding schedule, she helps fellow gymnasts polish their Spanish conversation or prepare for a teaching methods exam. Nugent explains that part of the Warriors’ athletic and academic success comes from the gymnast’s high-achieving mentality. “We’re not satisfied with the 3.7 or the 9.5. We want the 4.0, the perfect 10.” But she believes their trust in each other, both in and out of the classroom, is the real reason the Warriors are closing in on perfection. “I think that by teaching each other, we’re creating deeper relationships. We care about each other as people. That’s what makes us a true team.”

Four WSU gymnasts, four perfect GPAs (L-R): Alexandra Nugent, Renae Lee, Jory Waldron, and Melissa Baudhuin

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Setting the Stage for Child Advocacy Studies program prepares a future generation to end abuse

Social Change developing a curriculum to address child advocacy issues: Jacqueline Hatlevig, professor of Nursing, and Carole Madland, professor of Social Work. Along with several other faculty members and an attorney, this group spent about a year learning each other’s disciplines and creating a curriculum designed to facilitate critical thinking in students in a variety of majors, spanning from early childhood education to criminal justice. “At first, we tried to pack all of our ideas into one course,” recalled Hatlevig, “but we realized we needed more time to cover all the material.” Madland agreed. “It was a real challenge to pitch it as a multidisciplinary format,” she added. “Many educators are purists, so not many courses are conducted across disciplines.” From the early stages, the group felt strongly that the need for child advocacy education was great among a

By Margaret Cox

whole host of child protection professions, including social workers, doctors, nurses, counselors, police officers, theologians, lawyers, and teachers. Their vision was to train students across disciplines in the same way, so that the end result would be professionals who could more effectively collaborate in their efforts to identify and prevent child abuse. The group forged ahead, conducting an extensive review of recent evidence-based literature— including more than 550 articles and 50 training programs—and used this information as a basis for three comprehensive courses. In 2004, drafts of the three courses were compiled and ready for presentation to focus groups consisting of professionals from Minnesota law enforcement, social services, public health departments, healthcare systems, technical colleges, and other experts in the field. The response and support was positive, and feedback from the focus groups was incorporated into the curriculum as it neared its launch date.

The students are committed to helping others

CAST Becomes A Reality

Angie Scott, a WSU faculty member and forensic interviewer with the National Child Protection Training Center, leads a Global Advocacy Studies class


s one of the most progressive model undergraduate curricula in the country, the Child Advocacy Studies program at Winona State University is uniquely positioned to change the social fabric of communities everywhere. The brainchild of former prosecutor, child abuse expert, and director of the National Child Protection Center Victor Vieth ’84,

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the Child Advocacy Studies Training (CAST) program is a series of courses specifically designed to train undergraduates across multiple disciplines in the identification and prevention of child abuse. The goal of the CAST program is to educate future frontline professionals— students who will one day be teachers, law enforcement officers, and healthcare professionals—to identify child abuse, intervene

when necessary, and create effective preventative programs to stop the cycle of child abuse.

The Curriculum Takes Shape Developing a one-of-a-kind curriculum from scratch is no small feat, but is entirely possible when supported by passionate instructors. In 2003, two faculty members at Winona State joined Vieth in

CAST students, including Amber Olson (right), train in the mock house located in Maxwell Hall

The first course was designed to provide an overview of child advocacy issues, including the history of child maltreatment, its causes, responses to child maltreatment and legal perspectives. The subsequent two courses focus on the professional and system responses to incidents of child maltreatment, and responding to survivors of child abuse. These courses include two-hour labs each week to provide students with hands-on experience in forensic interviewing, interviews with families,

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Potential employers actively seek CAST students according to Carole Madland (above)

and mock trials. Students participate in role-playing to learn the specific protocol of interviewing potential victims and perpetrators. They are also introduced to diversity issues so that they are aware of cultural practices that are sometimes mistaken for cases of maltreatment. Related topics such as domestic violence and chemical dependency are also explored. Students who successfully complete all three courses are eligible for certification, and are

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prepared to pursue a minor in Child Advocacy with the completion of required courses and electives.

Overwhelming Response From the first course offering in the spring of 2005, the student response to the CAST program was tremendous. The majority of the students in the first course were from Nursing and Social Work, but word quickly spread about the important topics

being presented and the practical learning experiences taking place in the classroom. Soon, students from Criminal Justice, Education, and other disciplines were lining up to take the courses. “Currently, we are teaching four sections, and we have 80 more students on the waiting list. In the fall of 2009, we’ll be teaching five sections to meet the needs and interest of the students,” said Hatlevig. The passionate instructors, not all of whom are faculty, fuel the program’s success. A number of community members, such as area social workers and law enforcement officials, also contribute to the classes. They present information on the techniques they use in their everyday work life to help identify and prevent child abuse. Winona State has demonstrated its commitment to the CAST program in many ways, notably with the dedication of a state-of-the-art facility located in Maxwell Hall. The building includes mock courtrooms, interview rooms, and a simulated residence nicknamed the “Garbage House” by students and staff. “The Garbage House was designed to give students a very realistic view of the sights, sounds and smells that they might encounter in the field,” explained Hatlevig. The fully furnished residence includes props such as dirty diapers, open prescription bottles, and cigarette lighters. Each room has a camera to record the students and the techniques that they use, as they practice interacting with the “family” (actors or role-playing faculty) and taking careful notes on what they observe in the home. After the

walk-through, students review the tapes with instructors and peers to understand what they did well, and how they can improve. Outside the classrooms, students have also organized their own CAST clubs to support area children. The groups raise money to purchase items for clients of local social workers, including school supplies and scholarships for summer camps. “The students are zealous and committed to helping others,” said Madland. According to Amber Olson, a student who is currently pursuing the CAST minor, Winona State has provided a unique opportunity that, until recently, was not available anywhere else. “I am fortunate to be a part of the pioneering aspects of this minor,” she said. “I am sincerely excited to utilize the knowledge I am learning for the future generations of children.”

Students who earn certification in the CAST program are equipped to identify, investigate, and respond to the early stages of abuse. They are also able to dramatically improve primary and secondary prevention

“It’s about having an impact, not only in southeastern Minnesota but throughout the United States.”

Measuring Success The ultimate measure of success for the CAST program will be the impact it has on communities who hire CAST graduates. “We have several employers who actively seek out students from the CAST program,” said Madland. “They are impressed with the level of training our students receive.”

initiatives. CAST faculty members and National Child Protection Training Center staff regularly hear amazing stories of success from former students. “Prevention is the largest part of our plan to end child abuse,” said Vieth. “Child abuse feeds into virtually every other social ill in our country. If we could reduce child abuse, it would have profound impact in our communities, everywhere in the country.” “Winona State has said that it’s not just about turning out folks who will go into successful careers. It’s about having an impact, not only in southeastern Minnesota but throughout the United States,” said Vieth. “Literally, this is preparing a generation of leaders dedicated to improving our world.” Margaret Cox is a freelance writer living in West Salem, Wis.

Ending Child Abuse Within Three Generations

An estimated one million children are confirmed as victims of child abuse and neglect in the United States each year. Child abuse stems from a number of factors, including a lack of reporting and investigation, inadequate training of child protection professionals, and scarce financial resources for preventative programs. The National Child Protection Training Center (NCPTC) was established in 2003 to address these issues and to significantly reduce, if not end, child abuse within three generations. The NCPTC has designed a scalable, model curriculum for Child Advocacy Studies (CAST) to prepare future professionals on how to identify, investigate, and prevent child maltreatment. The CAST program has been implemented at Winona State. Montclair State University in New Jersey has used CAST as a model for its “Finding Words” forensic interviewing program. The goal is to establish the CAST curricula at 100 colleges and universities over the next five years. This summer, representatives from 20 colleges and universities will come to Winona to learn about the program and how to implement it at their own campuses. In addition to CAST, NCPTC sponsors educational programs for frontline professionals and agencies that include training, technical assistance, and publications. To date, NCPTC has trained over 40,000 professionals from all 50 states and 17 different countries. That number will grow with the recent announcement that NorthWest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville, Ark., will join the NCPTC as a regional partner to end child abuse. You can learn more about the National Child Protection Training Center at Click on the “Publications” tab at the site to read Vieth plan to eliminate child abuse, “Unto the Third Generation.”

How You Can Get Involved

These programs are gaining momentum, but there is still much to be done. You can make a difference by supporting Winona State’s Light The Way campaign which includes a $2.5 million initiative in support of the NCPTC. To learn more, visit

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Bass Master WSU student Zach Cassill pursues his passion for water, fishing By Brianna Keddell ’09 When Zachary Cassill is taking notes in Pasteur Hall, or bent over the sediment transport flume in the Science Laboratory Center, it’s hard to distinguish him from any other Winona State University student. But when he steps into a boat, Cassill is instantly recognizable to the thousands of fans who follow professional bass fishing. An ecology and geology double major at Winona State, Cassill fishes with the Walmart FLW Tour. The tour is one of the country’s most prestigious fishing tournaments, with individual events culminating in wildly popular “weigh-ins” and offering thousands of dollars in prize money. Cassill travels around the United States and Mexico to about 40 events each year. Event standings are

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judged on the basis of the weight of a competitor’s catch and points are compiled over the season. In 2008, Cassill’s largest day’s catch was 25 lb., 4 oz. at an event in Falcon Lake, Texas. Cassill is serious about fishing, and Winona State’s geology program and its proximity to the Mississippi River were key factors when he chose a university. “Winona has a good geology program, probably one of the best in the Midwest,” the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native said. “I can fish in the fall, spring, and summer, and I can study about the Mississippi River in school.” A family friend, who he fondly remembers as “Poppa,” taught him the ropes of fishing when he was only a toddler. “I’ve been fishing

from the time I was 2-years-old. [Poppa’s] grandson, Jonathan, got me into bass fishing when I was twelve or thirteen.” There’s no shortage of big fishing moments for Cassill, but one of his favorite memories is the watershed class taught by Toby Dogwiler, assistant professor of geoscience at Winona State. In the class, students examine all of the variables in a given watershed, or the area of land that catches precipitation and feeds it into a marsh, stream, river, lake, or groundwater. Dogwiler said that Cassill’s class spent considerable time discussing the floods that devastated southeast Minnesota in August 2007. “We talked about what controls how big a flood is, what is going on in the rest of the watershed, types of vegetation, types of land use, and types of typography,” Dogwiler said. Many geoscience students and students in other disciplines throughout the university utilize the flume lab to understand basic geologic phenomena. Open via large windows to the public atrium in the Science Laboratory Center, the flume lab boasts six stream tables measuring 7-feet by 3-feet; a large stream table that is 12-feet by

5-feet, and a 16-foot long sediment transport table. Students like Cassill are able to model and visualize stream and watershed processes, sedimentation and erosion, contamination transport, wave mechanics, and other processes that affect geological formation and bodies of water. “Students can control variables in the flume lab that they can’t control in the real world,” explained Dogwiler. “We wanted to build a lab that provides undergraduates with the same kind of learning experiences that are typically only found in a research institution,” said Cathy Summa, professor and chair of geoscience who played the leading role in bringing the flume to Winona State. “Students learn best by experimenting, exploring, and chasing after the things they are curious about.” “The point is to not just bring the river indoors, but to create a way for students and the Winona community to visualize the landscapes in which they live and to discover the interaction with the river and the evolution of the landscape throughout time,” continued Summa. Cassill said that his geology and ecology majors and work in the flume lab carry over to his fishing career. “I’m really interested in hydrology and that ties into my fishing: looking at how fish interact with the way the current flows,” Cassill said. “The ecology helps me understand the ecosystem in which fish live and I have a better understanding of fish behavior.” “It’s obvious that a lot of what draws his attention are things that are water related,” said Dogwiler of Cassill, who he has taught in several courses. “Once he’s intrigued by the question, he really becomes engaged in the subject.” Cassill spends much of his free time traveling to fishing events, but said he appreciates the close-knit feeling in the geoscience program. “It really feels like a family,” he said. The faculty works hard to make it that way, said Summa. “We spend so much time on intense work. Students are often in the lab on nights and weekends, so the community that develops is unique among geology programs. It’s something I remember from being an undergraduate and it’s what we try to foster

for our own students and among our graduates.” Cassill would like to create a similar environment for students who enjoy fishing. He is considering using his own experience on the Walmart FLW Tour to help create a Winona State bass fishing league. “I don’t have a lot of time because I travel so much,” Cassill said, “but I’d love to be a mentor.” Zach Cassill

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James Bowey


Informing Humanity


Three WSU faculty members speak through their photography By Mollee Sheehan ’07

Anyone can take a picture. Most of us have a collection of family photos to prove it. Photojournalism goes beyond capturing a moment in time, beyond the artistry of images that intrigue. It translates reality, illuminates humanity, examines other cultures. Whether archiving ancient ruins, documenting war, or capturing a glimpse of Americana, photojournalism tells the stories that might otherwise be untold, in a way words often cannot. Throughout their careers, three Winona State University mass communication faculty members—Tom Grier, Drake Hokanson, and Jim Bowey—have done just that.

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Shootings at Northern Illinois University, 2008 (right) Prayer, Preserverance & Rita (below)

James Bowey’s journey to photojournalism began as a quest. He was searching for the best vehicle to understand community and to shape the policies that affect it. It wasn’t a photograph, but a painting that changed Bowey’s course from law school to photojournalism. While flipping through a book on Impressionism, L’Absinthe by Edgar Degas, ignited a spark. “It communicated powerfully with me; it made me think and feel,” Bowey said. “I wanted to make people think and feel.” He found the essence of journalism appealing. “Journalists are working for the reader, not a client or a product,” he said. Bowey is dedicated to preserving that essence, even as the business of journalism undergoes radical, systematic changes. “I am a believer in the power of the still photo,” Bowey said. “Yet we must embrace new ways of connecting and presenting information.” To equip his students for a shifting field, Bowey teaches students to be not only photographers but also thinkers; and to develop the skill of looking at things differently. He sees his classroom as a laboratory for the future of media, where he and his students can invent the next platforms of journalism, platforms in which “the audience is no longer an afterthought, but a co-creator and active participant.” Bowey has found his niche at Winona State. “I can invent in a place that supports my same goal: improving our world.”

Winona Currents | 17

DRAKE Hokanson

TOM Grier Purposeful, Visual Storytelling Tom Grier remembers, as a sevenyear-old, taking photos with his 1960s Brownie box camera. He took shots of the family dog, his mother’s peonies, and the little “bells” on Lily of the Valley flowers that grew alongside his childhood home. In the days before one-hour processing, Grier would anxiously await his product. “Look what I did!” Grier became a professional photographer “kind of by accident,” he said. After working the radio airwaves as a disc jockey, reporter, and program director, Grier joined WSU in 1988 as director of public relations and marketing. Photography wasn’t in the job description. But when the photo services director left the university, Grier took on the task. He also began teaching evening photojournalism courses and is now a member of the mass communication faculty. Throughout the past 20 years, Grier has taken more than 50,000 photographs of Winona State. Roughly 30,000 shots are of campus trees, some of which appear in The Trees of Winona State University. Grier has also worked with sociology professor Ervin Bublitz to produce Artists in Clay and Artists in Wood, which document the Native American pottery and waterfowl collections housed in Krueger Library. Grier views photojournalism as an important messaging medium that not only records society, but also visually and purposefully tells its stories.

Deer Eating River Weeds

Wheeler County, Nebraska

Wheat Thrashers

Somsen Bluffs

Rice County Fair


Painted Hand Ruins-Sleeping Ute Mountain

18 | Spring 2009

A Different Way of Knowing

Every semester, every year, Drake Hokanson presents the same challenge to his photojournalism students: “Show me a photograph done in a way I’ve never seen before.” Every semester, every year, his students complain that the task is impossible given that Hokanson has been teaching photojournalism at WSU for 22 years. But his students deliver, every time. For Hokanson, photography is as much about the challenge as it is about anything. He defies himself—and his students—to “create something out of nothing” and to do what has not yet been done. In 1988, Hokanson published The Lincoln Highway: Main Street across America, a book that marries his two loves, writing and photography. The photos aren’t meant to illustrate the text. “Text and images are independent ways of knowing,” Hokanson said. “Together they create a ‘third affect’ that is greater than the sum of their parts.” Documenting the 3,300-mile-long highway from Times Square in New York City to the Pacific Ocean near San Francisco was worth the effort, he said, because Lincoln Highway is meant to last. Twenty years after its first publishing, Hokanson still receives letters, and royalties. The book has inherent historical value, but also has taken on a life of its own. It has generated interest in the highway, prompting further study of America’s first transcontinental road. “Lincoln Highway has created a movement— a small, but significant movement,” Hokanson said.

Winona Currents | 19

Democracy Takes Hold Winona State professor and students build an engaged, informed community


s the sun rises on a blustery Washington, D.C. morning, thousands are already queuing up to enter the National Mall. While most are bundled up against the frigid temperatures, the words and image of the man they’ve come to see are depicted everywhere and on everything: T-shirts stretched over winter jackets; front pages from the Post and Times held aloft; giant video screens sprouting from truck beds; even on the miniature American flags hawked by street vendors. A few blocks away, the doors of a Metro car slide open. Ten Winona State University students squeeze out, still sleepy from a 4 a.m. wakeup call and more than a little worried

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about staying attached to each other. The leader of their group, professor Kara Lindaman, has disappeared on the crowded platform. “But everyone was in a good mood, everyone was happy,” said Winona State student Jim McGuire of fellow Metro riders who eventually parted, revealing Lindaman in their midst. “We were all here for the same reason.” For more than two million people, that reason was to witness Barack Obama take the oath of office for President of the United States. The inauguration, however, was simply a highlight in a week of seminars and discussions with students from other institutions. Winona State political science student Mary Nehring noted

the previous semester of academic work focused on presidential politics. “It provided very valuable context for a historic event,” said Nehring. The Presidential Inauguration Seminar was just one in a series of experiences where WSU students learn about democracy and how to implement it in their communities. Lindaman, a political science professor who specializes in public administration, also coordinates the American Democracy Project and is faculty advisor to WSU’s chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the national honor society for political science. The American Democracy Project (ADP) is the largest and most ambitious of the initiatives. Winona State is one of several hundred colleges and universities participating in the project, which is sponsored by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities in partnership with The New York Times. The goal of ADP is to “foster informed civic engagement [and] create a greater intellectual understanding and commitment to participate in civic life.” There are a number of ADP programs designed to strengthen education for responsible citizenship. Winona State was one of only fourteen colleges and universities selected to take part in the Deliberative Polling Project. The yearlong project involves polling community members on a

specific public interest topic. Small groups are then invited to discuss the issue and engage in dialogue with experts and decision-makers. A second poll is taken, with the resulting changes in opinion representing the conclusions community members might reach if they discussed issues, heard alternate points of view, and became more informed. Lindaman’s team, which includes students and Winona State faculty and staff members, chose to focus on alcohol use and abuse as their deliberative polling topic. It’s an important issue that affects quality of life in university communities such as Winona. More than 90 Winona State students spent March and April conducting initial surveys and hosting community meetings. Winona State faculty members are providing expertise in the social sciences, statistics, and community relations. “As engaged citizens, the kinds of exchanges we are helping facilitate should be taking place in daily life,” said McGuire, a member of the inauguration group who is also participating in deliberative polling. “We model this type of discussion and engagement in the classroom,” said Lindaman. “The Deliberative Polling Project expands the model, bringing the community into the discussion about an important issue.” The 2009 presidential inauguration was the culmination of an election where more than 230 million Americans and nearly four million Minnesotans cast votes. Local precincts, staffed by volunteer election judges, bear the burden of ensuring that voting is orderly and proper.

Using a grant from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, Lindaman worked with Ruth Charles, a WSU professor of Social Work, to recruit and train students as election judges. Winona State was one of 27 universities to receive one of the grants. Seventy-six Winona State students attended government sponsored training sessions to learn the procedures and mechanics of polling sites, such as correctly signing in voters, explaining voting procedures, and monitoring the conduct of the election. The newly trained judges then staffed area precincts on November 4. Caitlin Stene spent election-day working at a Winona polling site. “As an election judge, I got to see the small, local side of the political process,” said Stene, who is president of the WSU Student Senate. “After doing it this year, it’s probably something I’ll do the rest of my life.” The Deliberative Polling Project, the Presidential Inauguration Seminar, and election judge training are investments in the processes of democracy, according to Lindaman. “Democracy is more than cheerleading or yard signs every four years,” she explained. “We are teaching and engaging in the processes and values that extend into every part of our communities, families, and personal lives,” Lindaman continued. “Being more informed, more thoughtful, more active, more involved in decision-making in our community should be a part of our everyday lives,” said McGuire. Apparently, Lindaman’s and Winona State’s message of democracy is taking hold.

Kara Lindaman (far left) and a group of Winona State students met U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar while attending the inauguration

Winona Currents | 21

My Favorite Professor: Orval Lund


oetry comes naturally to Orval Lund. Maybe it’s because his mother read to him as a child. Or that his grandfather, a country lawyer, used to share poems with him. As an English professor at Winona State University, Orv believed that anyone—even the least confident, most reluctant student—could write. “Everybody has poetry in them. It might not be good, but it’s in there.” He believes, too, that inspiration can be found in anything. It could be a new perspective on the ordinary, a group of birds sitting on a wire forming what resembles a music score, or even a quaint fortune cookie message. Sometimes, there is no inspiration. But the writing process itself creates it. Poetry, and writing in general, takes

22 | Spring 2009

discipline. In order to keep on-task, Orv made a New Year’s resolution this year to write every day. So far, so good. Former English major Elle Newman ’01 says, “It’s hard to find words to explain just how great he is. I’m sure a lot of professors have big hearts, but Orv cares deeply for his students, and really puts his heart out there.” His honest yet compassionate critiques helped shape Elle as a writer. “He put serious effort into teaching, but also into trying to understand what I was trying to say as a poet.” Sometimes Orv would understand her poetry better than she did. Orval said he tried to leave his students with a respect for language and “the courage to read and write well.” Literature feeds the soul, and adds a vital dimension to life, he says.

“Human beings are messy. Literature teaches you to empathize with people and to enlarge your perspective.” Orv believes in sharing good literature. He’s donated nearly 500 books of poetry to Krueger Library, and plans to give another 300. “Winona State is important to me and it’s just one way of giving back a little bit.” Though he retired in 2002, Orv still spends time in WSU classrooms. English professor James Armstrong teaches Orv’s collection of poems, Casting Lines, as part of an advanced poetry course. Orval remains a practicing poet, drawing inspiration from the friends and colleagues in his monthly poetry group, which includes Elle. Orv continues, also, to be inspired by poetry. One of his favorites is a one-line poem by nine-year-old Linus Larson. Orv likes to recite the poem first, “A bear eating blueberries.” Then he reveals the title. “’My Heart,’” he says with an irrepressible smile. — Mollee Sheehan Do you have a favorite memory of a faculty or staff member who inspired you? To nominate your favorite professor or staff member, email us at Or visit our Website and choose “Tell us about your favorite professor.”

Since 1875, Alumni Society has remained active The Society of the Alumni of the State Normal School at Winona was organized in 1875 under the leadership of William F. Phelps, second principal of the school. The society’s objectives were to promote the relationship between the institution and its graduates and students, as well as to advance their mutual interests and the cause of education in the state. In 1930, during the seventieth anniversary of the institution, the society was incorporated under the laws of Minnesota as the Alumni Society of Winona State Teachers College. A $14,000 scholarship fund was established through contributions from 450 alumni and friends. The Alumni Society continues to award thousands of dollars in scholarships annually to students who are related to alumni. After 1930, the Society remained active. Many students were helped financially through loans from its funds. Alumni, students, and faculty were eligible for active membership in the Society, and by 1935, 173 life members and 40 annual members were registered. The Alumni Society maintained a steady enrollment of loyal graduates of Winona State and performed important functions, especially by providing scholarships and other forms of assistance before loans to students became common. By 1970 it was clear that the organization should be expanded. The president’s office took the initiative in locating the graduates and friends who had been associated with Winona State over the years. With the help of the newly acquired computer systems, the job was completed. Upon graduation, all alumni automatically become members of the Winona State Alumni Society, free of charge. There are more than 50,000 alumni on record. The Alumni Societ y Board of Directors along with the office of Alumni y ta Relations have a s you can help : y s t il ie ta c e o comprehensive iS rd e Alumn ebsite fo th W s r y u a o w e e program re many mater. S There a On th ur alma du o .e y a h n it o designed to help w in d ni.w • Upd e Web: connecte ww.alum w a t alumni stay • Vie e your p w With W • Sig other al rofile connected with u SU Ca n • Find f o u p f o r a m n i p ro f i r e their alma e r le n r S er warding a alumni e s • Sea career ad v i c e d d re m s r v ch : mater and is ail • ss Get a for jobs ing Atte s s i with each s • t nd a n ce Prep • Twi n • Net are for in with your Alu s vs. Cub one other. of o work with terviews resume s at W mni & r F i g riend u ot h e r • Ste s Pre ley Field, r al p ro f e Jun e - Gam u s si o n m River amboat D 1 e G at n 3 als i , ays A f ro n t 2 009 e her in v l umn Park e g n i • A i n t i n & C s W h i c ag Frien : i n o na lu ds Ga o Som mni & Fr th e r i iends b er b n g, Jun y G ol f C l u b G o l f E ve n • Hom e 20, t and , By r 2009 e co m on, M Dinne ing 2 i n n. r, Jun 009, e 29, Octo b er 3 2009 -4 - W SU c a mpus Winona Currents | 23

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Advancing Mutual Interests

We want to hear your news! Submit class notes, baby photos, or keep up with your friends and classmates at

Read back issues of Currents (and previous editions of Class Notes) by visiting and clicking on “Currents Magazine.” You can submit your information by email at: Mail your class notes to: Alumni Office, P.O. Box 5838, Winona, MN 55987


Clara (Sorlie) Karli ’41/’70 (Mabel, Minn.) has been retired for over 30 years from elementary school teaching. She remains active with volunteering. Pauline (Maricle) (Thorson) King ’41/’64 (Ostrander, Minn.) is thankful for God’s blessings in her and her education, which awarded her with a good retirement. Pauline continues to garden, can, and freeze. Lorene (Thaldorf ) Porubcan ’43 (Paola, Kan.) is active and attends church regularly. She lives near her two granddaughters. Lorene hopes to visit her alma mater this spring.


Raymond ’50 and Melda (Person) Colwell ’51 (Owatonna, Minn.) have been enjoying their retirement since 1993. Robert Boeckman ’51 (Farmington, Minn.) recently had a school building named for him in Farmington. He was superintendent of the district’s schools from 1969 to 1989. In addition to serving as superintendent, he taught industrial arts, gym, and history; coached high school basketball; and worked as principal in Phelps, Wis., Thief River Falls, Eden Valley, and Arlington. Maxine (Erickson) Kornmann ’53/’60 (Roseville,

Celebrating a Century Virginia Anderson Soenke ’29 celebrated her 100th birthday in October. She is pictured here at her birthday party with nephew Rich Kalbrener ’69. After graduating from Winona State, Virginia taught at a one-room school before earning an advanced degree at the University of Minnesota. She worked as a librarian at Salinas High School in California after World War II. Kalbrener reports that Virginia still reads several newspapers to keep up with world affairs and financial news.

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Minn.) proudly reports that her daughter and niece are both graduates of Winona State and her granddaughter is currently a WSU student. Maxine (Czapiewski) ’55 and Allen Johnson ’56 (Vermillion, S.D.) are retired, busy, and enjoying life. William Prinz ’55 (St. Paul, Minn.) is retired and loving it. He reads a lot and gambles a little. Arlene (Hansen) Grindstad ’56 (Phoenix, Ariz.) retired from teaching. She taught for three years in Madison, Wis., and 34 years in Phoenix. She worked as a substitute for nine years. Arlene borrowed $100 from an aunt to start at Winona State Teachers College in 1953. She is married and has two children. Delmar Ollhoff ’56/’62 (Rochester, Minn.) is retired after teaching for 35 years at John Marshall High School. Delmar is enjoying his family, volunteering, and his hobbies. Roberta (Flynn) Reihsen ’57/’72 (Salado, Texas) and husband Gerry celebrated their fiftieth anniversary in June. Bobbie spent her first ten years raising children and then taught for 25 years at elementary schools in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Missouri. In their nine years in Salado, the Reihsens have enjoyed the ambience and their work with the delightful residents. They have four children and six grandchildren. Mary (Tripp) Rusert ’57 (Lewiston, Minn.) and husband Daryl spend winters in Zapata, Texas on Falcon Lake and the Rio Grande River. Jerome Tedrow ’57 (New London, Minn.) was named ITV Teacher of the Year in Minnesota, an award given by the Minnesota Interactive

Television Network. Jerry conducts German classes at New London-Spicer High School and to students as far as 100 miles away over interactive television. Jerry says that for an actor at heart, teaching on television comes easy. “I love it. I have fun. I get to be on television. I get to be Johnny Carson.”


Mary Ann Preston ’60 (Lake City, Minn.) recently moved to Lake City to live full-time in Minnesota. Yvonne (Simon) Randall ’63 (Hampton, Va.) completed her master’s and educational specialist degrees at the College of William and Mary. She is currently a diagnostic officer for the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice. She has three grown children. Glenn Stocker ’63 (Longville, Minn.) retired as professor emeritus of communication studies at St. Cloud State University. Glenn received his PhD in 1975 at Wayne State University in Detroit. Gary Anderson ’64/’72 (Apple Valley, Minn.) retired in 2000 after teaching in elementary schools in Spring Valley, Apple Valley, and Lakeville. For the last 19 years he served as an elementary media specialist. Gordon Swiggum ’66 (Sturgeon Bay, Wis.) is retired from teaching but still substitutes at the local high school. He also referees volleyball and umpires baseball and softball. David Wendlandt ’66 (Brownton, Minn.) retired from McLeod West Public School in 2000. He now works at Glencoe Country Club and coaches baseball and basketball. David was named


Margaret McCuen ’70 (Worthington, Minn.) recently retired after teaching special education for 22 years. Dennis Malenke ’71 (Campbellsport, Wis.) retired in 2005 after teaching at the West Bend School District. Barbara (Bentley) Walker) ’71/’75 (Clinton, Iowa) teaches seventh and eighth grade reading at Northeast Community School in Gooselake. Roger Runningen ’72 (Springfield, Va.) is in his sixth year as a White House reporter for Bloomberg News. He has been to 38 countries covering the President of the United States. Janet (Hull) Zabel ’72 (Blue Earth, Minn.) retired after 35 years of teaching. She spent 32 years at Blue Earth Elementary School. Janet’s husband, Gene, is a rural mail carrier in Bricelyn. They have two children: Jay works at Medtronic in Brooklyn Center; Brett ‘07 works in New Hope. Sue (Kyrk) Ebbers ’74 (Bird Island, Minn.) is in her thirtieth year of teaching

language arts at St. Mary’s School. She has also worked with numerous grant programs for the BOLD School District over the years. Michael Gabel ’75 (Orland Park, Ill.) retired after teaching for 33 years at Amos Alonzo Stagg High School in Palos Hills. Christie Wallace-Noring ’75 (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) is enjoying a different part of the country as district director of public affairs for the North Orange County Community College District. Christie would enjoy hearing from Winona State friends. Carrol Peterson ’78 (Coon Rapids, Minn.) published his third novel this autumn, Summer Mirage: Death of a Hired Man. Carrol started writing the novel while in Long Beach, Calif. in 1971. Mary Rumpho-Kennedy ’78 (Orono, Maine) is professor of biochemistry at the University of Maine. Sacia Andersen ’79 (Galesville, Wis.) has worked for 30 years in the field of social work. Barbara Bickford ’79 (Madison, Wis.) works for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in waste disposal, especially healthcare waste. Her interests include girl scouting, wilderness canoeing, gardening, music, and art.


Carol Machemer ’80 (Circle Pines, Minn.) has worked at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis since 1985. She is nurse manager in Surgical Services, Pre-Op, and PACU. Carol says “Hello” to her 1980 classmates. Ronald Andro ’81 (Gibsonia, Penn.) is vice president of operations at the University of Pittsburgh Medical CenterMercy Hospital. Ron has been with UPMC for nine years.

John ’06 and Jessica Burgoyne Huggenvik ’06 got an idea of what little angels their daughters could be. Grace Elizabeth was born on June 3, 2007, and Emma Lauren was born on August 15, 2008. We enjoy seeing all of your baby photos, but due to the number Grace received we an d E mma select one Hugg envik for publication in each issue of Currents. Find more photos, or submit your own baby photo, at Submit photos by email at Send photos by mail to: Alumni Office, Winona State University, P.O. Box 5838, Winona, MN 55987.

Lit tlest A

As a nurse, he worked at St. Paul Ramsey Medical Center in Saint Paul. He worked as a hospital administrator at Rush Presbyterian Medical Center in Chicago; Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H.; and Provenia St. Joseph Medical Center in Joliet, Ill. Ron is chair-elect of the American Heart Association for the Greater Pittsburgh Area. He has been a nurse for 27 years and hospital administrator for 23 years. Ron and his wife have two daughters, ages 11 and 13. He hopes his fellow classmates are well and welcomes the opportunity to hear from them. Michele Matthews-Jepson ’81 (Woodbury, Minn.) has worked for 26 years in newborn intensive care at Minneapolis Children’s Hospital. Pamela McClanahan ’83, has been appointed director of the Minnesota Historical Society Press and Borealis Books. She also directs an internship at the press, and notes that she has selected two WSU students for the program, Molly Ward and Christy Stark. John Graupmann ’84 (Bettendorf, Iowa) has worked as a paralegal at the legal aid office in Davenport for 22



the Dick Siebert Award winner at the Minnesota High School Baseball Coaches Association award dinner in October. The award goes to a coach who has “served Minnesota high school baseball with distinction, professionalism, involvement, and longevity.” James Wason ’68/’73 (Centerville, Wis.) is retired after working for 40 years in education. Jon Arnold ’69/’98 (St. Charles, Minn.) taught math in St. Charles for 34 years. He also coached cross-country, wrestling, and track. Jon now teaches at Winona State and continues coaching. Janice Giaquinto ’69 (Winona) is a teacher with Winona Area Catholic Schools.


years. Ellen (Blondell) Hongerholt ’85 (Winona) and husband Brad were married on January 1. Ellen is self-employed and Brad works for Mathy Construction. John (Jack) Beranek ’86 (Kellogg, Minn.) works in the cancer center at Mayo Clinic developing research protocols. Marvel Betchwars ’86 (Rollingstone, Minn.) was recently announced as partner at Hawkins, Ash, Baptie & Company LLP. A CPA, she has managed the Winona office for the past two years and practiced with the firm for 22 years. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants, and the Institute of Management Accountants. She is also a member of the Sunset Lions and serves on the Leave a Legacy Winona executive committee. Larry ’89 and Melinda (Horton) Simons ’89 (Smithfield, N.C.) have spent the last four years traveling across the country to a remote community in Washington, living in a tent, and building

Winona Currents | 25



Laura (Kappers) Matthias ’90 (Lime Springs, Iowa) and husband Rodney are crop farmers (corn and beans). Lori also works part-time at a nursery and landscaper. They have one son, 4-year-old Benjamin Douglas. Matthew Bloomquist ’93 (Janesville, Wis.) and wife Lisa have two children, son Bryan, aged 6, and daughter Morgan, aged 3. Duane Danielson ’93 (Mabel, Minn.) and wife Tiffany welcomed a son, born on January 15. Kathy Rojina ’95 (Chicago, Ill.) placed third in the National Gift-Wrapping Contest and was featured on Good Morning America on December 8. Brad ’95 and Andreya

(Frank) Schmitt ’98 ’04 (Cochrane, Wis.) welcomed a daughter on January 3. Kaye (Tlusty) Lewis ’96 (Blaine, Minn.) and husband Mike have two children, 4-year-old Claire and 5-month-old Ethan. Kaye is a registered nurse at the Device Clinic at St. Paul Heart Clinic. Rebecca (Simonic) Murphy ’97 (Rochester, Minn.) and husband Daniel welcomed their daughter Audrey Mae on December 25. Chad ’97 and Rachel (Lockwood) Schepp ’00 (Greendale, Wis.) welcomed daughter Sydney Ann on February 13, 2008. Jennifer (Sonntag) ’98 and Warren Becker ’00 (Mahtomedi, Minn.) welcomed daughter Rena Marie on February 2. Rena joins her big brother, Thomas, who is 3-years-old.  Ginni (Stevenson) Hamele ‘98 (Pardeeville, Wis.) and

Hahn Finds Romance

Amy Hahn ’96 has achieved a lifelong dream: she is now a published romance writer. Amy released her first book, Mr. Jack Frost, in December 2008. She followed that up with Courting His Royal Highness, which hit the stores this month. A third novel, Dr. Anderson’s Nanny, should be out by the end of 2009. Amy earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communications, focusing on journalism, with a minor in English writing. She received her master’s in mass communications/ media management with an emphasis in higher education at Arizona State University. In addition to writing romance novels, Amy has worked as a magazine writer and editor, television news producer, and college instructor. She and her husband, Chris, live in Rochester, Minn. Amy’s books can be found through her publisher’s Website , the Wild Rose Press, or at Amazon and Barnes and Noble Booksellers. Find out more about Amy at www.

26 | Spring 2009

“Phone Home”

Three Winona State University alumni (L-R), Sara Manz ’06, A.J. Janiak ’08, and Jaclynn Reynolds ’08 got in touch with each other (and E.T.) at a lantern festival in Jinju, South Korea. husband Travis welcomed a daughter, Brinley Carolynn, on July 30,. She joins big sister Adison, aged 3.  Travis Hemker ’98/’00 (Winona) and wife Jennifer welcomed their daughter Jolee Ann on December 14. Jeffrey ’98 and Rebecca (Rasmussen) Johnson ’98 (Coon Rapids, Minn.) welcomed daughter Sara Mae on January 16, 2008. Kayra (Swanson) Wood ’98/’00 (Rosamond, Calif.) is expecting daughter numbertwo on February 28, 2009. Amy (Kruse) Hoscheit ’99 (Caledonia, Minn.) married Brad Hoscheit in October 2003. They welcomed son Tyler in May 2007. Amy is early childhood coordinator and teacher for the Mabel-Canton School District. She is in her ninth year of teaching. Julie (Neubarth) Karger ’99 (Watertown, Minn.) and husband Darin welcomed son Aaron on September 1, 2008. Aaron joins 2-year-old sister Jenna.


Julie (Walbridge) Harnly ’00 (Red Wing, Minn.) and husband Nathan welcomed son David Paul on October 6. David joins siblings Luke and Alice. Julie is a stay-at-home mom.

Phil Sonnenberg ’00 (Winona) and wife Deb welcomed son Ajay Ethan on November 7. Anne (Piller) Ruppert ’01 (Winona) and husband Aaron welcomed son Cordel Jon on January. Christina (Bigaouette) Grant ’02 (Belle Plain, Minn.) and husband Brian welcomed son Brayden William on October 6. Andrea (Williams) Potthast ’02 (Germantown, Wis.) is a marketing manager at Barnes Group. Becky (Blaul) Sliva ’02 (Appleton, Wis.) teaches grades K-5 special education at Danz Elementary School in Green Bay. Natalie (Zenefski) Martin ’02 (Oconomowoc, Wis.) and husband Erik welcomed their first child, Brenden Albert, on January 5. Nicole (Gates) Boyles ’03 (La Crosse, Wis.) welcomed daughter Hayden Grace on March 29, 2008. Alanna (Killian) Callahan ’03 (Ankeny, Iowa) is married to Tom Callahan. They have three children: Eli is 3-yearsold, Ethan is 2, and William is 3 months. Amanda (Kempner) Hardy ’03 (Winona) and husband John welcomed daughter Alayna Abigail Grace on January 23.

Eric Thiemann ’03 (Owatonna, Minn.) is a software engineer with IBM in Rochester. Brianna Gallett ’04 (Gilman, Wis.) has been promoted to senior account executive in the consumer marketing practice at Weber Shandwick, a Minneapolis-based public relations firm. She has helped with brand-building, national media relations, product launches, event planning, and contest management for her clients. Brianna joined Weber Shandwick in 2008. Ann (Rohweder) ’04 and Chris Hoiland ’06 (Rushford, Minn.) welcomed a son, born on December 24. Kristin (O’Laughlin) ’04 and Ben Rodgers ’05 (Rollingstone, Minn.) welcomed their son, born on October 17. John ’06 and Jessica (Burgoyne) Huggenvik ’06

(Hatley, Wis.) welcomed daughter Emma Lauren on August 15. Emma joins big sister Grace Elizabeth, born on June 3, 2007. Jessica is a human resources representative for FederalMogul Corp. Kaitlin (Eichhorst) Osborn ’06 (Shakopee, Minn.) is a physician recruitment specialist with Allina Hospitals and Clinics in Minneapolis. Jeffrey Blunk ’07 (Lac Du Flambeau, Wis.) is an executive team lead for Target Corporation. Kellie Jorgenson ’07 (La Crescent, Minn.) and husband Jared welcomed their daughter, born on November 15. Karen Pronschinske ’07 (Cochrane, Wis.) is a third grade teacher at Sts. Peter

Hiking for Water Most of us think very little about water. It’s all around us and readily available for drinking, bathing, or even washing our cars. But as John Hopf ’04 considered how to make his life more meaningful, he found that clean water is a big concern for many in the world around us. That’s why Hopf took a year off from a successful career to hike the 2,175-mile Appalachian Trail that runs from Maine to Georgia. Hopf, who played basketball and majored in business administration at Winona State, is hoping to raise awareness of the need for clean water in developing countries. When he finishes his hike, Hopf plans to visit Guatemala and Tanzania to work on water awareness projects there. You can follow Hopf’s progress on the Appalachian Trail, read his blog, and find out more about his project at

and Paul Catholic School in Independence. Andres (Brockmann) Wigfield ’07 (St. Michael, Minn.) is a social worker and employment specialist with Functional Industries, Inc. in Buffalo.


a house as a family of four. Both Larry and Melinda are teachers.

Ulysses Izaola ’08 (St. Paul, Minn.) is the coordinator of residential life activities at Riverland Community College. Ulysses has worked as a camp and dorm counselor and has experience participating in student activities.


Helen (Utzinger) Sanborn ’36/’64 (Racine, Minn.) passed away of natural causes on February 5. After graduating from Winona State Teachers College, Helen taught in rural schools in Hamilton, Ostrander, and Brownsdale. She married Duane Koebke in 1941 and together they farmed in Spring Valley. Helen returned to full-time teaching in 1956 and taught second grade until 1982. Following Duane’s death in 1985, Helen married Stanley Sanborn in 1987. She was a member of the Minnesota Education Association and enjoyed teaching, flowers, watching birds, wintering in Arizona, and spending time with family.


Lois (Johnston) Christensen ’40/’66 (Mesa, Ariz.) passed away on November 1 due to acute myelogenous leukemia. She taught all grades in rural Minnesota and for several years enjoyed working as a flight attendant for Mid-Continent Airlines. Lois was extremely active in the community, including creating the Wee Modern Nursery; serving as first state president of the Mrs. Jaycees of Minnesota; hosting a lifestyle program on television and radio; founding the Music Guild; and most recently, working as a docent at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum in Winona. In 1974 she earned a master’s at Arizona State University and worked as a college career counselor for many years

in Mesa. She was an avid traveler and golfer. In 1960, she donated land so that the Winona Country Club could complete its 18-hole course. She traveled to Scotland with her clubs to visit and play all of the great old courses. Virginia Richter ’40/’45 (Winona, Minn.) passed away on February 3. Virginia attended the Phelps School from kindergarten through ninth grade and graduated from Winona Senior High School in 1938. After receiving her master’s degree from Northwestern University, she taught art at the Phelps Laboratory School and at Iowa State Teachers College Campus School. She continued her education with graduate courses at Columbia University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and

Marquette University. Virginia taught for more than 40 years in Minnesota and Wisconsin, retiring in 1985 and returning to live in Winona Virginia Reed ’41 (Stewartville, Minn.) passed away of natural causes on January 27. She earned a 2-year teaching degree at Winona State and taught in rural schools before earning a bachelor’s at Adrian College and master’s in library science at Iowa State University. She taught English in Hemmingford, Neb., McDonald, Kan., California, and Oregon before becoming assistant librarian in Garden City, Kan. She was head librarian at Douglas High School in Arizona for 13 years before retiring in 1987 and returning to live on the family farm in Racine. She was a longtime member of

Winona Currents | 27


Harry Schoen ’54 (Hastings, Minn.) passed away on January 25. He was a graduate of Hastings High School, received his BS degree from Winona State and taught school. He earned his JD degree from the William Mitchell College of Law. A longtime Hastings area attorney, Harry retired in 2008. Sister Fidelis Logan (Margaret Logan) ’59 (Rochester, Minn.) a Franciscan Sister of the Congregation of Our Lady of Lourdes, passed away on January 3. She entered the Sisters of Saint Francis in 1941 and made vows in 1944. For 31 years, Sister Fidelis taught in elementary

28 | Spring 2009


schools in Rochester, Winona, Fairmont, and Owatonna, Minn.; in Sandusky, Ohio; and in Chicago. She also served as principal at several schools and was director of Title I programs for Rochester non-public schools. From 1977 to 1985 she was a faculty member at the College of St. Teresa in Winona. She moved to Assisi Heights in Rochester in 1985 and served as coordinator of volunteers in pastoral care at Assisi Heights and at the Federal Medical Center.


Royce Mensink ’60 (Oak Grove, Minn.) passed away on October 29. After serving for two years in Germany with the U.S. Army, Royce earned his degree at Winona State and later an MBA at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He taught computer programming and business information systems at Milwaukee Area Technical College from 1964 until 1998. Royce enjoyed sports, traveling, reading, and being with his family. He had fond memories of his Winona days and remembered the enrollment reaching 1,000 when he was there. Henry Hansen ’64 (Winona) passed away on October 29. Henry earned a degree in music from McPhail College of Music in Minneapolis and later a master’s from Winona State. He taught music in Welcome, Minn., Wellton, Ariz., and from 1961 to 1983 in Winona School District 861. He served in the U.S. Navy, earning the rank of Seaman First Class. John Lucente ’67 (Independence, Wis.) passed away November 25. His education was interrupted by World War II, where he witnessed the bombing of London and was involved in the Battle of the Bulge. After his service, John joined the Wisconsin Army National Guard until retirement as a major in 1967. He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and master’s at Winona State in counseling. He earned a second master’s at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. John worked as a guidance counselor and school psychologist in the Independence Public Schools until retirement in 1987. He enjoyed outdoor activities, fishing, hunting, water skiing, and jogging. He and his wife both enjoyed traveling.


Phyllis (Kurtzweg) Kreibich ’70 (Buffalo City, Wis.) passed away on February 9. Phyllis attended Buffalo County Teachers Normal School and farmed with her husband until they old their to their son in 1980. She proudly earned her bachelor’s degree at Winona State while she farmed. An active Sunday school teacher, Phyllis enjoyed gardening, her raspberry patch, embroidery, quilting, talking on the telephone, and canning. Phyllis’ family will forever remember the little trips to places such as Mount Rushmore or Duluth between first crop and second crop hay and the unconditional love she gave to them. Helen Renner ’73 (Rochester, Minn.) a retired teacher and longtime Rochester resident, passed away on December 16. Helen attended St. Cloud State Teachers College and taught primary grades in city schools in northern Minnesota. She continued her education after marrying Robert Renner in 1949 and moving to Rochester, graduating from WSU in 1973. She taught first grade at Folwell School for 20 years. She continued tutoring and teaching reading and math after retiring in 1987. Dr. William Christensen ’74 (Henderson, Nev.) passed away November 19 following a brave battle with cancer. After graduating from Winona State, Bill earned his MD at the University of Minnesota. He worked at Sierra Health Services in urgent care and as medical director, and at Family Practice in Boulder City, Nev. He took time with his patients to listen and tried to make a difference in their lives. He enjoyed trips to national parks, tandem bicycle riding, and SCUBA diving with his wife, Eileen. Bill was a member of the Las Vegas Triathlon Club and competed in several Iron Man triathlons. He also competed in the Mild Seven Outdoor Quest adventure race in China. Robert Kuhlmann ’75 (Winona) passed away January 5. Bob and his high school friends formed the popular band, The Fabulous Ferraris. He played with other bands and opened for popular groups such as The Grateful Dead. An enthusiastic practitioner of the arts,

Bob designed and restored windows for Reinarts Stained Glass Studio. Later, he became a substitute teacher and educator at the Early Childhood Development Center and job coach for ORC Industries. Evan Rodeberg ’79 (Winona) passed away December 5. Evan graduated from Winona State University with a bachelor’s degree in social science. After working for Hormel Corp. in North Carolina, Evan returned to Winona. In 1981, he became owner of the Hei-N-Low Tap. He also owned Calvin’s Saloon. Evan was an avid and constant reader.

Craig was an avid pool player and enjoyed participating in leagues around Rochester. John Kauphusman Jr. ’91 (Winona) passed away on November 25 from an accidental fall. Following his graduation from Winona State, John worked at Fastenal Company, where he was employed for 17 years. John was an Eagle Scout who enjoyed boating, fishing, and sports. Julie (Lund) Earle ’97 (Winona) passed away February 20. Julie was a registered nurse in the Radiation and Oncology Department at Mayo. She enjoyed traveling, especially snorkeling in Hawaii and fishing at Lake Superior, and spending time with her family and Janice (Goetzman) Kelly ’82 (Winona) grandchildren. passed away on October 25. Jan had a Ervin Miller ’99 (Rochester, Minn.) special talent for accepting other people. passed away December 30. He attended When she developed bipolar disorder, Bemidji State College and later graduated she used mental health services as a cum laude from Winona State at the client, and later returned the favor by age of 79. After serving in World War serving nine years on its board, working II, Ervin and his wife, Marie Wynne, as a community support worker, and moved to Rochester in 1947. He joined until recently, as a hospital auxiliary volunteer. From the journal she kept, Jan the Section of Photography at the Mayo Clinic and retired in 1985 after 37 years. wrote the story of her life with mental illness, Journey to the Sun. She had several He was founding president of the Upper Midwest chapter of the Biological articles published that describe her and Photographic Association, and served her family’s experiences. as president of the Rochester School Ann (Grabau) Kowalke ’84 (Cresco, Board, the Hawthorne PTA, Zumbro Iowa) passed away on December 7. Valley Toastmasters, the Good Food Store, After receiving her BS in nursing Ann and the Unitarian Universalist Church. worked as an oncology nurse in Peoria, He was an Eagle Scout, the scoutmaster Ill. She married Todd Kowalke ’84 in of Boy Scout Troop 21, and advisor to 1987. Their daughters Courtney and Explorer Post 21. Ervin enjoyed contract Caitlin were born in 1990. Ann worked bridge, woodworking, and genealogy. as a post-surgery nurse in Des Moines while Todd attended school and moved to Cresco in 1994. She worked at Kessel Kids, Cresco Care Center, Howard Lisa (Lofthus) Holter ’05 (Winona) Winneshiek Community School District, passed away January 1 after a lengthy and Community Health Services. She was battle with cancer. Lisa graduated a member the Cresco Library Board, PEO, from Winona Senior High School and Band Boosters, Choir Boosters, and First Rochester Community and Technical United Methodist Church of Cresco. College. In 2000, she met Christopher




Craig Clappier ’90 (Rochester, Minn.) passed away on February 2. Craig enlisted in the U.S. Air Force after graduating from Winona State and served for four years and another two-and-a-half years in the U.S. Navy. He later worked for REM Health, Inc. in Rochester until his health declined due to muscular dystrophy.

Holter and they married in 2007. After being diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2003, Lisa achieved her dream of obtaining a degree in business administration at Winona State. She continued to work full-time at Baker’s Square and enjoyed many adventures with her family. Kellen Donald Coatney, a former Winona State student, passed away on March 7. He began attending the

university in 2007 and was majoring in mass communications with a focus on broadcasting.

Faculty, Staff, Retirees, Friends


the National Education Association and loved reading, crossword puzzles, and following politics. George Matchan ’47 (Owatonna, Minn.) passed away on July 15 at the age of 85. George taught high school industrial arts, business law, and social studies for six years. He joined Federated Insurance as a claims adjuster in 1953 and remained in the claims department until his retirement in 1986. George is survived by his wife Harriet (Wold) ’48/’76. Lyle Iverson ’48 (Modesto, Calif.), known as Ivy or Red, passed away on October 29. He served in World War II as a B-24 crew chief and returned to Minnesota to earn his degree at Winona State. After earning a master’s at Colorado State, he taught and coached in Kansas City before moving to Modesto in 1953. He worked with a fiery passion as a coach and athletic director at Downey High School. He retired in 1983 and spent his time traveling, fishing, and playing golf. On the day of his death he enjoyed 18-holes of golf and a game of gin. “Lyle leaves a legacy of inspired student athletes and a tradition of athletic achievement. He’s the reason I got into teaching,” said Mike Hardin, who played for him in 1959 on the Downey basketball team. Gifts in Lyle’s memory may be made to Winona State athletics.

Jeanne Czaplewski passed away on November 6. She was a waitress and cook at Shorty’s, fashion merchandiser, and head cashier at Winona State. She had a passion for fashion, and decorating, and any office or space she was in took on her unique style and made all who were there more comfortable and feel at home. Her favorite time of year was fall and the rare crisp, clear days of November right through the Christmas season. Otto Frank (Chandler, Ariz.) passed away on October 27 after a short battle with cancer. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Dickinson State University and served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean Conflict, spending 13 months on the front lines. He received master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of North Dakota and worked for 23 years as professor, department chair, and dean of the College of Education. He retired in 1992. Marvin Schultz passed away on September 9 at the age of 90. Marvin worked as a commercial fisherman, chef at Club 61 and Wally’s in Fountain City, pressman at Leicht Press, and maintenance engineer at Winona State. After retiring, he enjoyed spending time on the river, especially when it was frozen; playing card games; tending his weeping mulberry trees and numerous plants; tinkering; watching sports; and spending time with his family. Dan Willson passed away on October 25 after a brief illness. Following service in France and the Philippines during World War II, he earned bachelor’s and master’s degree in biology at Kansas State Teachers College. He received his PhD in botany at the University of Oklahoma. Dan taught at Central Oklahoma University, Central Washington University, and was professor of biology and dean at Winona State. He returned to St. Paul after retiring in 1985 and was active in community affairs. His life was dedicated to education and supporting people in their efforts to improve their lives and the lives of others.

Winona Currents | 29


Jeanine McShea

Jeanine ’80 and John ’79 McShea


ithin a few minutes of meeting Jeanine McShea ’80, she makes connections. Open and engaging, McShea lights up the circle around her, encouraging a smile and a comment from even the most reluctant in the group. McShea recently returned Winona State University on an appropriately brilliant fall day. She visited with her husband, John ’79, to receive the 2008 Distinguished Alumni Award, honoring her extraordinary success and significant contributions to the university and its mission. As vice president of sales and managing broker for @properties, McShea manages the real estate firm’s flagship office in Chicago. She directly trains more than 400 agents and shares responsibility for training another 300 across the company’s five offices. The largest private residential real estate company in Chicago, @properties is a trendsetter through its extensive use of technology and attention to customer service, says McShea. McShea has been a highly respected member of the Chicago brokerage community for more than 20 years. In addition to her position with @properties, McShea is a member of the board of directors for the Chicago Association of Realtors. She was the first in her family to go into real estate, choosing it after John suggested it as a career that would mesh with raising a family.

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“I was hooked after the first sale,” says McShea of her start as an agent at a Chicago Century 21 office. “It was exciting and fulfilling, and I took great pride in building good relationships.” Building relationships continues to be the cornerstone of McShea’s career, whether she is selling a property or training one of her agents. “We concentrate on caring for our customers, and building trust and mutual support among our brokers. I think that’s one reason @properties has been successful.” Both Jeanine and John McShea say that Winona State professor emeritus Jim Eddy has been an influence throughout their lives. Through classroom Socratic discussions, Eddy opened their eyes to the classics of western literature and their affirmation of work, accountability, and civic responsibility. “Dr. Eddy opened my eyes,” says Jeanine. “I became more engaged, more responsible, more serious about academics and service.” After living in Chicago since graduating, McShea loves the city and is active in cultural and community life there. She and John also enjoy taking their sailboat out onto the waters of Lake Michigan. But McShea stays connected with her alma mater. “Winona State helped me lay the foundation. It changed my whole outlook. “

Perfect Timing


inona State University concluded its sesquicentennial celebration with, among other events, a top award for a timeline display commemorating the university’s 150 years. The 60-foot-long, 10-foot-high timeline won a gold award in the 2008 Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District V Circle of Excellence. It depicts the significant people, events, and milestones as Winona State grew from normal school to university. The timeline is displayed in Phelps Hall, one of the oldest buildings on the Winona State campus and original location of the former normal school’s model teaching school.

Winona Currents | 31

Winona State University Currents Spring 2009  

University magazine for Alumni & Friends